Category: Policy Updates

Politicizing the Census: In 2009, Obama’s Nominee for Commerce Secretary Quit Because of This

WSJ‘s James Taranto has dug into the Washington Post‘s archive to discover that Obama’s 2009 nominee for Commerce Secretary bailed out because of this:

Sen. Judd Gregg said today that his decision to withdraw from consideration for commerce secretary was due in part to his concern with the Obama administration’s decision to have the next Census director report to senior White House staffers as well as the commerce secretary.

In a statement announcing his withdrawal, Gregg cited the administration’s Census decision as one of two “irresolvable conflicts for me” that he said were not adequately discussed before he accepted Obama’s nomination.

Bobby Jindal’s Health Reform

The plan begins by repealing ObamaCare. It would also “guarantee access” to people with pre-existing conditions, through a “high-risk pool, reinsurance, or some other method ensuring those with chronic conditions can obtain needed care.”

Like the Republican Study Committee’s plan, Jindal’s proposal replaces the current exclusion of employer-based tax benefits with a standard tax deduction. The problems:

  • It is regressive, giving more tax relief, the higher your income tax bracket.
  • It is not helpful to the half of the population that does not pay income tax.

Now that ObamaCare has handed out tax credits to millions of people in the health-insurance exchanges, the total effect of the plan would likely be to take insurance away from a large proportion of the people insured through the exchanges, as well as all the people covered by ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion. By election day, it would probably un-insure ten million people.

Did Republicans Just Make ObamaCare Better?

And if they did, who knew about it?

At the prodding of business organizations, House Republicans quietly secured a recent change in President Barack Obama’s health law to expand coverage choices, a striking, one-of-a-kind departure from dozens of high-decibel attempts to repeal or dismember it…

The provision itself was relatively minor. It eliminated a cap on deductibles for small group policies offered inside the law’s health care exchanges as well as outside; the cap was set at $2,000 for individuals and $4,000 for families…

No member of the House GOP leadership has publicly hailed the fix, which was tucked, at Republicans’ request, into legislation preventing a cut in payments to doctors who treat Medicare patients.

It is unclear how many members of the House rank and file knew of it because the legislation was passed by a highly unusual voice vote without debate. (AP)

It’s Official: No More March 31st Deadline

I’m not making this up. From the Washington Post:

Under the new rules, people will be able to qualify for an extension by checking a blue box on HealthCare.gov to indicate that they tried to enroll before the deadline. This method will rely on an honor system; the government will not try to determine whether the person is telling the truth.

If you find that hard to believe, how about this?

The rules, which will apply to the federal exchanges operating in three dozen states, will essentially create a large loophole even as White House officials have repeatedly said that the March 31 deadline was firm. The extra time will not technically alter the deadline but will create a broad new category of people eligible for what’s known as a special enrollment period.

Can the States Extend the ObamaCare Mandate Deadline?

On Monday, Minnesota said it would extend a completion deadline for anyone who starts the process of enrolling in a plan by midnight on March 31 but doesn’t finish it. Maryland and Nevada also have extended the deadline for people who can show they began to sign-up before the end of the month…”We sort of liken it to if you are standing in line to vote and the polls close but you are still able to go ahead and vote,” said Scott Leitz, interim chief executive of Minnesota’s health-insurance exchange, MNsure. Mr. Leitz said people will have to prove that they tried to sign up to be eligible for flexibility. (WSJ)

What House Republicans Could Learn From Henry Ford

To develop and alternative to ObamaCare, Republican leaders are planning a listening tour:

Senior House Republicans — struggling to find consensus for health care legislation to replace the Affordable Care Act — are planning to test ideas in April at town-hall-style meetings that could provide a path toward a long-promised alternative to President Obama’s signature legislative achievement.

From a review of George Gilder’s new book on entrepreneurship:

…[A]s Henry Ford is said to have put it: “If I had listened to my customers, I would have built a faster horse.”

Work Over-Time or Get a Bonus and You Could Owe the IRS $10,000

…[I]ndividuals who enroll in the ObamaCare exchange will run the risk of having to pay back a significant portion of the tax credit if their life circumstances change…

The result will be surprise bills from the IRS in the mail come tax time 2015, in the order of a couple hundred dollars all the way up to full value of any subsidy received if a family crosses the 400% FPL threshold. (This could be $10,000-$12,000 for a family of four, as an example.) Just a few dollars of extra income could result in thousands of back taxes to be paid.

Josh Archambault.

GOP: No Health Plan in Sight

Republicans aren’t even convinced they will find consensus on any specific set of new health care bills. The ideas they’re discussing — the ability to buy insurance across state lines, wider use of health savings accounts and cutting federal regulations — are the same principles they have kicked around since 2009. But the party is not much closer to finding a proposal — or set of proposals — that would garner enough Republican support to pass the House. (Politico)

I thought the folks at Politico were supposed to be on top of things. I explained why the GOP can’t get its act together a year ago.

What The Latest ObamaCare Rule Change Means

Doug Badger in a private email:

See the last paragraph on page 1 and the top of page 2 in the CMS document. If your plan was canceled, you have the option of enrolling in a catastrophic plan (even if you are over 30) or not buying coverage at all and claiming the “hardship exemption,” which means that the government will not make you pay the new tax on the uninsured.

If Your Insurance Was Cancelled, You Can be Exempt From the Mandate

Provided it’s a hardship.

The Obama administration is throwing another Band-Aid at the millions of people wounded by the Affordable Care Act when they were booted from their existing health coverage. The latest change, quietly announced last week, allows many of them to skirt the law’s “individual mandate” through 2016. The change was included in last week’s announcement that the government would let people keep otherwise out-of-compliance health plans for another two years. Buried in the official memo was a line giving people whose policies were canceled a “hardship exemption” through October 2016 (3/12). (Fox News)